My Student Proofreading Toolkit includes 17 handy Word find/replace strings and wildcard searches that will help you tidy up your PhD thesis or Master’s dissertation before you hand it over to a third-party professional proofreader or submit it to your university’s assessors.
The toolkit includes:
These DIY tips are designed to complement, not replace, a rigorous proofread. You can polish your document at any stage, but, for the sake of efficiency, I recommend carrying out the tasks after you've finished writing your thesis or dissertation and reviewed its purpose, content and structure.
No advanced technical knowledge is required – even the novice Word user will be able to implement these tasks by following the step-by-step instructions (and associated screenshots). You can even select and copy some of the longer find/replace and wildcard search strings from the PDF.
A word of caution – always save a backup copy of your file first, just in case you implement changes incorrectly. It's easier to revert to a fallback document than to repair a damaged one. I always test complex find/replace and wildcard search strings beforehand.
The self-editing tips I’ve chosen are some of my personal favourites. I hope you find them as useful as I do!
Louise Harnby is a professional proofreader and copyeditor. She curates The Proofreader's Parlour and is the author of several books on business planning and marketing for editors and proofreaders.
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